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15 of the Best San Diego Food & Drinks to Try This February

Each month, the SDM staff eats their way through the city—here are all of our favorite sips and bites
Potato Taco from Not Not Tacos Mexican restaurant in Little Italy, San Diego
Courtesy of Not Not Tacos

There’s no heartbreak like a bad meal—and with Valentine’s Day rearing its heart-shaped head, we’ve boldly ventured out to find the best bites the city has to offer, ensuring you and the SD food scene remain solidly in the eternal honeymoon phase. From a possibly illegal taco to lavender two ways (one of ’em boozy), here are the dreamiest things to eat this month, including several of our sweethearts in South Bay. Go get some.

Chocolate With Hazelnut from local bakery and cake shop Mmm... Cakes int in Chula Vista, San Diego

Chocolate With Hazelnut

Mmm… Cakes

Six. Layers. You know they’re not messing around. The choco-hazelnut at this Chula Vista dessert haven is gently sweet like a note hidden by a lover for you to find, not sickly saccharine like those contrived social media captions from that couple who post just a little too much about each other. I’ll be back to taste whatever else they’re baking up. –MH

Whole Fish Special from local Vietnamese restaurant Kingfisher in  Golden Hill, San Diego

Whole Fish Special


Chef David Sim would wake up to this dish as a kid. At Kingfisher, it’s largely the same as mom’s, maybe with a little more technique learned from his years in the city’s top kitchens: a whole deep-fried fish, its skin crispy and its meat incredibly moist; a spicy-sweet kick from caramelized fish sauce; cilantro atop. A classic, simple, lovely thing. –TJ

Pork Pozole from local Mexican restaurant Mypozole in Miramar

Pork Pozole


Soup’s small window of San Diego time is now. And pozole is Mexican-gods soup. Humble, tendercrisp hominy (aka giant white maiz or field corn) sits in a deeply rich stew of chile (guajillo and ancho), garlic, cumin, pork, and spices. But it’s the toppings on MyPozole food truck’s take that turn the flavor knob up to eleven. The base model comes with radishes, onions, jalapeños, tostada strips, cilantro, oregano, cabbage, and lime juice. –TJ

Karaage Sando from local Japanese restaurant Asa Cafe Bakery in East Village, San Diego

Karaage Sando

Asa Cafe Bakery

Gimme one of everything at this East Village gem. The hojicha (roasted green tea) latte is rich and chalky, like a caffeinated milkshake, and comes with enough boba to count as a meal. The stretch on the sesame mochi bagel gives me chills. But the karaage sando takes the W. Lightly spiced, with just a touch of wasabi heat and slaw between what feels like angel food cake? Great googly-moogly, so soft. –MH

Biang-Biang Spicy Hand-Ripped Noodles from local Chinese restaurant Shan’xi Magic Kitchen in  the Convoy District, San Diego

Biang-Biang Spicy Hand-Ripped Noodles

Shan’xi Magic Kitchen

I’ve wanted to try the hand-torn noodles at this Chinese hot spot (they’ve got locations in Clairemont and Convoy) since we put them on the cover of the July ’21 issue. They didn’t disappoint. Plenty of heat, and super fun to eat. Pair them with the fried lamb and the dry-fried green beans for a “magic” meal. –DM

Dry-aged Tuna from local seafood market Tunaville Market & Grocery in Point Loma

Dry-aged Tuna

Tunaville Market & Grocery

Recently we had Tommy Gomes of The Fishmonger come into the office to show off his dry-aged tunas. This bluefin traveled straight from the sea to TunaVille Market to us, with a deliberate 15-week aging detour. The flavor is savory, buttery, and, obviously, fishy, but not too much so. Consider it an upgrade on your bright-red tuna sashimi. –JB

Yakiniku Bbq Beef from local Japanese restaurant Donburi Rice Bowls in National City, San Diego

Yakiniku Bbq Beef

Donburi Rice Bowls

I love a good meat dish. Heavy on the protein, light on the extras. This yakiniku beef bowl from Donburi in National City hits the spot with mounds and mounds of deliciously barbecued, thin-sliced meat atop a bed of white rice and grilled veggies. The pickled ginger adds a nice crunch and tanginess for an all-around solid (and filling) meal. –NM

Chocolate Lavender Cake from local cafe Makani Coffeehouse in Rolando

Chocolate Lavender Cake

Makani Coffeehouse

Brand-new to Rolando in the old Garden Kitchen space is Arabic coffee shop Makani, which also serves house-baked treats daily. I love the date and pistachio-rose cakes, but the chocolate lavender cake with cream is also something truly special. –JB

Tuna Poke from local seafood restaurant El Pescador Fish Market in La Jolla, San Diego

Tuna Poke

El Pescador Fish Market

It’s tough to stand out from the poke crowd in SD, so I’ll just say this: I could eat a bowl of the green wasabi tobiko atop this bowl. Everything is as fresh as can be at El Pescador in La Jolla, but it’s the little flavor flourishes that have me planning my return. –MH

Veggie Egg Breakfast Sandwich from local coffeeshop Grind House in Chula Vista, San Diego

Veggie Egg Breakfast Sandwich

Grind House

US soccer is quickly surpassing English football in talent and excitement. Just look at the USWNT (and SDFC in the MLS!). We may have also already beaten the Brits at their own muffin game. The housemade English muffin at Grind House makes this sando dance like it just scored a PK. With egg, cheese, spinach, and pesto, it’s a winner. –MH

Strudel Square from local bakery Hans & Harry’s Bakery in Bonita, San Diego

Strudel Square

Hans & Harry’s Bakery

Hans & Harry’s Bakery, a Bonita staple since ’91, serves up the best fruit strudels in SD. Berries and kiwi lacquered in syrup, flaky-chewy puff pastry, a dusting of sugar crystals… there hasn’t been a dessert-masquerading-as-a breakfast this good since the advent of muffins. –EH

Fresh Lumpia from local Filipino restaurant Manila Sunset in National City, San Diego

Fresh Lumpia

Manila Sunset

Even if that healthy-eating resolution is already in the rearview mirror, it’s worth trying the delicate fresh lumpia—sautéed veggies wrapped in a paper-thin crépe and drizzled with a peanut sauce I could drink— alongside the crispy stuff at this laidback Filipino eatery in National City. Tack on a plate of BBQ chicken to feed two people well for under 20 bucks (seriously!). –AR

Beer Battered Fish Taco from local bar McP’s Irish Pub in Coronado, San Diego

Beer Battered Fish Taco

McP’s Irish Pub

If a fellow transplant came to me swearing that an Irish pub on Coronado had one of San Diego’s most exemplary fish tacos, would I believe them? No. But dismiss my claim at your own peril. The light, perfect fry on that Alaskan cod—modestly dressed in cabbage, salsa, and spicy sour cream—can’t lie. –AR

Honey Lavender Golden Lager beer from local taproom Chula Vista Brewery

Honey Lavender Golden Lager

Chula Vista Brewery

This pint pairs well with sunshine and maybe post-Peloton perspiration. Not the most beer-flavored beer, but with a strong lavender aroma, honey on the palate, and a bit of bitter balance on the back, it’s one of many brews they do well at Chula Vista brewery. Want something stronger? Get the 9.3 ABV Humble IIPA. –MH

Mashed Potato Taco from local Mexican Restaurant Not Not Tacos in Little Italy

Mashed Potato Taco

Not Not Tacos

Hear me out: It works. Is it a crime? Maybe. I haven’t checked the civil code concerning what we’re allowed to put in tortillas. Pictured here with Not Not’s shrimp and Nashville hot chicken tacos, the mashed potato taco comes with sour cream and crushed potato chips for crunch. If it is a crime, please call my lawyer. Meanwhile, I’ll be ordering them for breakfast in Little Italy. –MH


By SDM Staff

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